The life and scientific legacy of Lena Artz
“The life and scientific legacy of Lena Artz: a hidden figure of central Appalachian shale barren botany”
A (Virtual) Lunchtime Lecture by Dr. Andrea Weeks (George Mason University)
The shale barrens of the central Appalachian mountains are renowned ecological communities in the eastern US, whose distinct flora and extreme environment conditions have captured the attention of botanists and ecologists for over a century. These communities are patchily distributed in the Ridge & Valley and Massanutten Mountains of the mid-Atlantic where shale bedrock is exposed on steep slopes having southerly aspect, and they have accumulated a diverse assemblage of endemic or near endemic herbaceous perennial plant species. Systematic exploration of these areas began in the mid-1920’s, coincident with the activity of the Virginia Flora Committee of the Virginia Academy of Science, and multiple floristic studies and checklists were published in the decades following. While some the authors of these works are well-known researchers (e.g., Harry A. Allard, Earl L. Core), a key individual responsible for much of what we know about the Massanutten Mountain flora and morphological adaptations of shale barren specialist plants, Lena Artz (1891-1976), has remained in the shadows until recently. This presentation will detail the discovery of Lena Artz’s collection notebooks and professional papers and the reconstruction of her remarkable life’s journey as a botanist outside of traditional research institutions. It will conclude with how her relocated herbarium specimens and detailed field notes are reinvigorating efforts to understand the evolutionary origins of shale barren endemic species and the historical biogeographic construction of this unique biome.
This 1-hr seminar will include a short Q&A session after the lecture.
This virtual seminar will be broadcast using the Zoom platform.
Click here to connect to the event. Lecture begins at noon (Central) and includes a chat-based Q&A with the speaker. This event has ended. Pending permission from the presenter, a recording of the lecture will be posted here a few days after the event. Check out past lectures here.
- THIS EVENT HAS ENDED. You may view the recording at https://youtu.be/Z8esJ5UGk98.
- Resources relevant to the lecture:
- Lena Artz entry in Bionomia
- Lena Artz entry in Wikipedia
- Notes From Nature: Project used to transcribe museum records, including Lena Artz’s herbarium specimens. (This link takes you to the landing page for all the transcription projects related to collections within SERNEC (Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections. The projects related to transcribing Lena’s specimens are complete.)
- The Extended Specimen Network: A Strategy to Enhance US Biodiversity Collections, Promote Research and Education
- Digital Extended Specimens: Enabling an Extensible Network of Biodiversity Data Records as Integrated Digital Objects on the Internet
- Flora of Virginia Project
- Flora of Virginia (publication)
- Dr. Andrea Weeks on Twitter: @pterygote
About the Research Lecture Series
The BRIT Research Lecture Series is designed to create community wide conversation about a diverse range of important and rapidly developing topics. This series gives scientists and speakers a forum for sharing the most current information about their areas of expertise and allows the public to interact with leading members of the local, national, and international scientific community. Read more at fwbg.org/events/lecture-series.